Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – October 2014

It is Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD) and well into autumn, the garden overall remains fairly green. Suddenly this week a few maples around town became brilliantly red. Today is the first time this season the morning seemed really cold when I went out to explore the garden. There was a chilly wind and the garden was still in shade.

Several people commented on the use of Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) in my latest Monday vase. There are many clumps in my garden. This one seems newly regenerated and shows off its silvery, gray-green hue and thick, richly textured leaves.

Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

Lavender is another silvery-leaved plant I find useful in flower arrangements and it is always lovely in the garden as well.

Lavender

Lavender

Standing in early morning shadows, the Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) still holds all of its leaves, but most of the berries are gone. This dogwood from the Arbor Day Foundation has always seemed odd to me. Unlike the trees at my former garden, this one is rather short and its leaves seem smaller and more elongated than normal. Maybe it is my imagination.

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) In Early Morning Shade

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) In Early Morning Shade

Next to the dogwood the American beautyberry is still covered with purple berries, although upon close inspection it is clear the birds have been feasting on them.

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) in front of 'Carolina Sapphire' Arizona Cypress

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) in front of ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress

One flower I remember being fascinated with as a child is Lycoris radiata (Spider Lily), which grew in a mossy area of my grandparents’s front yard near a large blue spruce tree. After longing for some for many years, finally this fall I planted six bulbs courtesy of some special friends who gave me a nice gift card from White Flower Farm.

The foliage appeared almost immediately. Unfortunately this means I cannot expect to see the spidery red flowers this year as the foliage emerges only after the flowers have bloomed. The leaves should overwinter, then disappear in early spring. Next fall seems like a long time away.

Lycoris radiata (Spider Lily)

Lycoris radiata (Spider Lily)

Recently I toured Plant Delights Nursery at Juniper Level Botanic Garden with a group from my garden club.  It was my first visit and I should have brought along a better camera. One plant I was interested to see growing was Ruscus (Butcher’s Broom). Our garden guide said Italy grows tons of this for the florist industry to use as foliage in arrangements.

Sure enough, in a floral design workshop yesterday, we began our project using ruscus foliage to define the line of the design. I cannot be sure ours was true ruscus, or Poet’s laurel, which is apparently often sold as Italian ruscus.

Ruscus - Plant Delights

Ruscus – Plant Delights

Hedera (Ivy) Vine -climbing juvenile ivy form - Plant Delights

Hedera (Ivy) Vine -climbing juvenile ivy form – Plant Delights

Where I live in North Carolina most people recognize two invasive plants, Kudzu and Ivy, so it was surprising to see vines of Hedera (Ivy),  roaming freely up a large tree at Plant Delights.

Our guide explained Hedera (Ivy) is a vine in its juvenile form, but after many years and 30-40 feet later it matures into an adult. The gardeners at Plant Delights allow the ivy vine to run up this one tree so they eventually can have seeds from the adult form.

Hedera (Ivy) runner with variegated leaves. Juvenile form - Plant Delights

Hedera (Ivy) runner with variegated leaves. Juvenile form – Plant Delights

In its adult stage Hedera changes its form from vine to shrub. Its leaf form changes as well and it apparently settles down and becomes well-behaved.

Below, our garden guide is reaching toward the shrub form.

Hedera (Ivy) Shrub -adult (mature) form - Plant Delights

Hedera (Ivy) Shrub -adult (mature) form – Plant Delights

Here are a few more scenes of foliage in the shaded garden at this nursery.

Hosta - Plant Delights

Hosta – Plant Delights

View at Plant Delights

View at Plant Delights

View at Plant Delights

View at Plant Delights

One last interesting plant we saw during this garden visit looked at first like eucalyptus.  In fact it is Baptisia arachnifera, a plant native not to my state of North Carolina but rather to another southern state, coastal Georgia. Because of rules surrounding its classification as a federally endangered plant, the nursery can sell it but cannot ship it outside of North Carolina.

Baptisia arachnifera (Wooly Wild Indigo) - Plant Delights

Baptisia arachnifera (Wooly Wild Indigo) – Plant Delights

Thanks to Christina for hosting GBFD on the 22nd of each month. Visit her at Garden of the Hesperides to discover what foliage displays she and other garden bloggers are featuring today.

22 thoughts on “Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – October 2014

  1. Cathy

    Lovely to see your garden looking autumn-like! Beauty berries have recently become popular here, but I have yet to see one that looks as good as yours. Maybe they don’t like our winters… I think it’s wonderful that your nursery offers tours and has such a lovely show garden. Nothing like that is near to me; Southern Germany still has a long way to go to please gardeners, but it is getting better slowly! The Baptisia is very pretty – it does resemble eucalyptus a lot, which is a tree I love. I also have Stachys, but it is looking a bit tatty now that autumn’s here. It is great ground cover in the full sun though.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Cathy. I haven’t made up my mind about beautyberry. The native is less interesting to me than the Asian but I feel like I “should” grow the native one for the birds. We are lucky to have several nice nurseries nearby. This nursery is only open to the public a few weekends each year and somehow for years I’d never managed to get there (just an hour away), so I was happy the garden club arranged a private tour for us.

      Reply
  2. Christina

    Susie you have featured some very interesting foliage today. From the image I would have been sure that Baptisia arachnifera was eucalyptus; are there many plants that can’t be sold out of state because they are rare? I’ve never heard of that before. I’ve seen Ruscus in florists but never as a plant to buy, now that would be useful for me, Thank you for joining in GBFD again this month, I value your support.

    Reply
  3. Pauline

    Lovely foliage again Susie.
    The foliage from your garden tour was so interesting, what a fantastic Hosta that was and yes, the Baptisia certainly does look like a Eucalyptus, it’s good that your state is preserving it. I have a couple of Ruscus plants here and it certainly is useful on the few occasions that I do a flower arrangement !

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Glad you enjoyed seeing this foliage Pauline. I thought of you when I posted that hosta photo. The owner of this nursery, Tony Avent, is a well-respected hosta breeder (among other things). Interesting to know you have ruscus. I’d like to grow something like to use in flower arrangements but i don’t have much shade.

      Reply
  4. Chloris

    Lots of lovely foliage. I liked your garden tour. I saw a Baptisia recently growing in the garden of a nursery and I couldn’t think what it could be. It had such glaucous blue foliage. I didn’ t make a note of which one it was, but I had never seen one with foliage like that before. It looked like this Baptisia arachnifera. It is gorgeous.

    Reply
  5. Julie

    Hi Susie, Your tour and your guide sound wonderful, I did not know about the transformation from vine to shrub of Hedera helix, I must of seen this in the wild and not computed what I was looking at. Thankyou for sharing this, I am off to google this some more. Thats a lesson too to look and not just wander along.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      We all could probably stand to take time to look more, but in this case I think it would have been hard to recognize the shrub form with its distinctly different leaf shape. Let me know if you come across some. Glad I mentioned it–I wasn’t sure if it was common knowledge to everyone else but me, but thought it was interesting.

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Plant Delights Nursery had been on my bucket list for a long time. The owner is very well-known in this area and I had a chance to hear him speak last year at a garden club meeting. For years I used to read his garden column in the local paper (sadly no longer does that).

      Reply
  6. bittster

    Great that you got the spider lilies, they really are a cool southern plant that sprouts up in the middle of nowhere and surprises you! I’ve been trying to make the pink ones happy here, but so far no luck.
    Is ruscus thorny? I’ve heard it called ‘butcher’s broom’ and it never seemed like a plant I’d like to work with in a vase…

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      I’m so looking forward to seeing my red spider lilies next fall. Hope you get some extra cooperation this year from your pink spider lilies! It’s frustrating when plants refuse to get established (I have that problem with Monkshood.) I saw somewhere ruscus as having a “false thorny.” There is a rough spot on the back of each leaf but they’re not at all problematic to handle. I think it’s from where the berry is attached but not quite sure about that.

      Reply
  7. Beth @ PlantPostings

    I love the gray-green of the Stachys and the Lavendar foliage. I have Lycoris squamigera and it’s so fun to see the foliage, and then much later the blooms that emerge seemingly out of nowhere. Great foliage post!

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks for your comment Beth. Sorry for the delayed reply. Your message fell into my spam so just now saw it. I’ve only seen the red lycoris, never the pink Lycoris squamigera. The foliage thing fooled me but now I’m doubly anxious to see the flowers next year.

      Reply
  8. Donna@GardensEyeView

    I am overwhelmed by the green lushness still going on in so many spots around the country…and I shouldn’t be. It is just such a difference to here where it is all going, going, gone especially the green foliage.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      I’m in no hurry to catch up to your area Donna but we’re heading into a cold weekend, possible snow in NC mountains and a freeze here on Sunday.

      Reply

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